Over the past 6 years, in dozens of interviews and keynote speeches, the author has heard from librarians who recognize the sea change underway, something that's far deeper than new thinking about makerspaces or 3D printers. Libraries had been stoutly analog experiences since the days of Johannes Gutenberg. But since the arrival of networked, accessible personal computers in the mid-1990s and the explosion of social media a decade later, the Internet has sent libraries scrambling for relevancy -- digital relevancy, a new world that's far more about behaviors around networks than one-on-one library services transactions. As one California library CEO told him bluntly, libraries are dismal in the extreme at measuring social ROI, because all librarians working lives, they've been the experts. Measures of social behaviors that directly relate to digital relevancy are salient metrics in any discussion of the future of libraries, not because libraries cannot survive the transition to the digital age, but rather because those behaviors are worth investigating in that they reveal community values.
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